Tatyana Lebedeva’s bid for an unprecedented long and triple jump double remains on track, but defending champion Trecia Smith’s gamble to compete just after returning from injury backfired when she quit the competition after just one jump.
Lebedeva had led home a Russian clean sweep of the long jump just under 24 hours earlier and she showed no signs of fatigue to secured a straight-forward passage into the final with a first round effort of 14.57 – some 0.17cm in excess of the automatic qualification standard.
Smith, of Jamaica, has been plagued by injury problems and it was little surprise her title defence ended in disappointment. Smith limped gingerly away from the pit after her first round attempt of 13.47m and she withdrew from the competition.
The most impressive qualifier was Olympic silver medallist Chrisopiyi Devetzi. The Greek athlete leapt a monster 15.09m – more than half a metre further than she had previously jumped this year - to climb to joint second on the 2007 world lists.
Cuban Yargelis Savigne, the other woman to have jumped 15.09m this year, soared out to 14.67m with her first jump to cruise into Friday’s final, which is scheduled to start at 19.30 local time.
Cuban-born Italian Magdelin Martinez produced a season’s best of 14.62m with her first qualification jump to also hint at her medal potential.
Other automatic qualifiers included: World No3 Marija Sestak of Slovenia (14.58), Russian No2 Anna Pyatykh (14.51), World University Games champion Olga Saladukha of the Ukraine (14.43), Kazakhstan’s Asian champion Olga Rypakova (14.41), and Russian No.3 Olesya Bufalova (14.40m).
Smith’s training partner, the 1999 World silver medallist Yamile Aldama of Sudan, could only muster a best of 13.46 and was also eliminated.
Osaka 2007 News Team/sl